Defending champion Karoki leads deep field for Rak Half Marathon

Defending champion Karoki leads deep field for Rak Half Marathon

The confirmed elite fields for the RAK Half Marathon set for February 9 trump even the star-studded line-ups of one year ago. Bedan Karoki is back to defend his title, having won last year in a lifetime best of 59:10. But with 15 men able to boast sub-60-minute bests – two more than last year – his task to win again will be harder than ever. No fewer than 29 men have now broken the 60-minute barrier on the sweeping loops of the RAK circuit. Of the four men who achieved the feat last year, three of them will return to Ras al-Khaimah. The versatile Augustine Choge, who clocked 59:26 to finish third last year in what was only his third half marathon, continues to seek experience before venturing to the full marathon. Solomon Yego, who ran 58:44 on the downhill Rome-Ostia course in 2016, finished fourth in Ras al-Khaimah last year in 59:50, his fastest time on a record-eligible course. He too will return to the RAK Half. Others in the field include Ethiopia’s Guye Adola, who last year clocked the fastest debut marathon in history with 2:03:46, and Kenyan 20-year-old Jorum Lumbasi Okombo, whose 58:48 clocking from Copenhagen last year made him the second-fastest in the world for the distance in 2017. Others to watch include 2014 RAK Half Marathon winner and two-time Boston Marathon champion Lelisa Desisa, the Ethiopian having won his past four half marathons, and 21-year-old compatriot Jemal Yimer, who finished fifth in the 10,000m at the IAAF World Championships last year and will be making his half-marathon debut. The women’s field, which boasts similar depth, will be announced next week. The women’s race starts at 6:45 am local time with the men’s race due to start 15 minutes later. ELITE MEN’S FIELD Jorum Lumbasi Okombo (KEN) 58:48 Guye Adola (ETH) 59:06 James Wangari (KEN) 59:07 Bedan Karoki (KEN) 59:10 Fikadu Haftu (ETH) 59:22 Josphat Tanui (KEN) 59:22 Albert Kangogo (KEN) 59:25 Augustine Choge (KEN) 59:26 Edwin Kiptoo (KEN) 59:26 Vincent Rono (KEN) 59:27 Leonard Barsoton (KEN) 59:28 Lelisa Desisa (ETH) 59:30 Alex Kibet (KEN) 59:32 Geoffrey Yegon (KEN) 59:44 Solomon Yego (KEN) 59:50 Shadrack Kimining (KEN) 1:00:07 Ali Kaya (TUR) 1:00:16 Timothy Toroitich (UGA) 1:03:14 Jemal Yimer (ETH) debut

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